SEASON REVIEW: Cornard United

Football action in the Ridgeons League First Division between Cornard United and Fakenham Town
Football action in the Ridgeons League First Division between Cornard United and Fakenham Town

THERE is one thing Cornard United’s owner-cum-manager is sure about: He doesn’t ever want to go through that ever again.

And Chris Symes is not just talking about the 13-0 defeat to Stowmarket, but the whole miserable season.

The Blackhouse Lane outfit managed to concede 141 times in 32 matches, only scoring 17 goals on their way to a paltry seven points.

But the season was still a success. Why? Because, despite having to field some 70 new players, with so many unable to hack the one-sided results, they are still alive and kicking in the Ridgeons League.

Symes will not want to dwell on 2010/11, from a first-team point of view – the under-16s won the Eastern Junior Alliance by ten points – but they managed to not become the next Ridgeons side to pull out.

Symes said: “Last seaosn was a nightmare, the backer who paid the players’ money stopped paying and I was down to amateurs, the youth team and foreigners just to keep going. But I was not prepared to drop out.

“It was a struggle but we managed it.”

The campaign began the way it was to continue, with five defeats in their opening five and only one goal to show for their efforts.

But Cornard will be back in the First Division for another go next season, despite finishing 10 points adrift at the bottom, due to an FA ruling meaning no sides from step six could be relegated in 2010/11, a situation Symes was acutely aware of.

“If there had have been a chance of relegation I would have maybe borrowed money and paid some mercenaries, as it was, it was just about fulfilling our fixtures,” he said.

The campaign saw crowds drop to somewhere near the adage of “one man and his dog”, it certainly wasn’t pretty, with only a 3-2 win over Long Melford at Blackhouse Lane on December 30 providing a brief bit of cheer. And from there an horrendous run of 17 consecutive defeats followed, the worst in the club’s history.

But with the aid of drafting in some Romanian car washers, they just about survived being sucked into football’s black hole. And for that it was mission accomplished.